Music: Coheed and Cambria
I would do anything for you
Kill anyone for you
Coheed and Cambria is a prog rock band from New York, not a kind of cigar. Their concept albums tell a science fiction story taken directly from The Amory Wars
comics, written by Claudio Sanchez (the lead singer).
Each studio album corresponds to a chapter in the comics, and they were released in more or less the same order.
Here's a list, but, be warned, the titles are ridiculous
- The Second Stage Turbine Blade (2002, technically the second part of the story)
- In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003)
- Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (2005)
- Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow (2007)
- Year of the Black Rainbow (2010, a prequel)
- The Afterman: Ascension (2012)
- The Afterman: Descension (2013)
Like most music projects that involve telling a story, it's halfway between Plot, What Plot? and Mind Screw
, though the comics help to tell a coherent narrative (though as you'll see below, it can get hard to follow anyway).
The current line-up consists of:
- Claudio Sanchez - Vocals, Guitar
- Travis Stever - Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Zach Cooper - Bass, Backing Vocals
- Josh Eppard - Drums, Backing Vocals, Samples
The tropes below cover both the band and comics for convenience's sake.
This band and comic provide examples of the following tropes:
- Adult Fear: Coheed and Cambria are forced to kill three of their four children early on, with the youngest (the twins, Matthew and Maria) getting poisoned and the oldest (Josephine, who had recently gotten engaged, and shortly after, gang raped while her fiancé is beaten) getting beaten to death with a hammer. The second oldest, Claudio, was out with his girlfriend when it happened, and when he gets home he finds Josie dead on the kitchen floor.
- Alien Sky: Shown on the second page of the new comics, with several planets clearly visible.
- All of the Other Reindeer: It has been mentioned Ambellina was cast out by the other Prise, but for reasons unknown at the moment.
- Year of the Black Rainbow suggests that it's a combination of her own choice, and a punishment for acting against Paranoia's instruction.
- Arc Words: Some variant of "What did I do to deserve this?" appears at least once in every album since In Keeping Secrets. The comics retcons this into Second Stage Turbine Blade as well.
- The lyrics to four different songs in Good Apollo Vol. 1 mention "one kiss/one last kiss."
- Arc Number: Three.
- There's a song called 33,
- Another song by The Prize Fighter Inferno—Claudio S's side project—is called 78, a multiple of three,
- 78 is also the number of planets in the Keywork
- The Organization KBI had three members, not to mention three letters.
- 21:13 is a bonus track on IKSOSE 3. According to Word of God, 21:13 is the time Claudio was supposed to be home by. It's essentially "Everything Evil" from Claudio's point of view.
- There are many more than this...
- But just to mention one of them: the planet where it all started is called 'Silent Earth: 3' (which, chronologically, is the band's third musical installment in the Amory Wars saga).
- Artificial Human: The IRO-Bots.
- Artistic License – Biology: Yeah, viruses? They don't work like that. At all. To be fair, reality doesn't seem to be quite the same in Heaven's Fence. Especially considering that this is fiction within fiction.
- Arm Cannon: Coheed's right arm is revealed to actually be a large gun.
- Author Appeal:
- Coheed and Cambria's children (Mathew, Maria, and Claudio) are named after Claudio Sanchez and his siblings. He has stated that naming the characters after real people (particularly Newo Ikkin, named after his then-girlfriend Nikki Owen, and Claudio, named after himself) is his biggest regret with the project.
- Count the number of attractive blonds; this can't be a coincidence: Claudio K's girlfriend, Newo, is blond; A minor character mentioned in passing in the novel Year of the Black Rainbow is said to have blond hai; the Prise are a race of blond women.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Coheed again, his left arm features a number of curved blades.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: the villain Wilhelm Ryan.
- Capital Letters Are Magic: it distinguishes The Fence from...a fence.
- Character Title: Coheed and Cambria are two of the main characters. The band used to be called Shabütie for whatever reason before their first drummer left.
- The Chosen One: Claudio Kilgannon is the Crowing, a prophesied god-like savior. It makes sense in a weird way, since even within the story, he is the Author Avatar of the Writer.
- Concept Album: Like Blue Oyster Cult, more a concept band (though we'll see what they'll do when The Amory Wars comics are done)
- Continuity Snarl: Okay, first there were albums. Five of 'em, now. Add in two different comic adaptations (one discontinued after the second issue). In Second Stage Turbine Blade, there are differences between the album and comic story. Now, there's also a graphic novel version of the third album, Good Apollo Volume One, which may or may not follow the original comics. Also, there's a novel version of the prequel album that doesn't fit entirely into the comic continuity, and the author has hinted at the possibility of turning all the albums into books. Which means that there are three continuities:
- The albums
- The comics, plus two discontinued series, plus retcons throughout the first two volumes of the current series
- The novels, which, if they are written, will be in a slightly different timeline.
- Darker and Edgier: Year of the Black Rainbow
- A Day in the Limelight: 33 for Patrick, and, according to Claudio S., the first three vocalized songs in In Keeping Secrets for Sizer.
- Downer Ending: both volumes of the comic: Volume one has a minor downer ending, with Coheed and Cambria being ready to die, and everything looking generally not good. However, Volume Two has Coheed and Cambria dead after disrupting the Keywork, the Prise apparently mostly dead after they sacrifice themselves to fix the Keywork, the resistance torn apart, their leader Mariah dead, Well-Intentioned Extremist Inferno (at least, judging by the flash-forwards) somewhat insane, and Claudio Kilgannon, the Keywork's saviour, bitter and apathetic, simply living his life out in a sewer. The villains have lost a single named character, Admiral Crom, whose resurrection (possibly as a giant robot, judging by a couple images in the ''No World For Tomorrow'' lyric book is strongly hinted at.
- Averted in Year of the Black Rainbow: The main bad guys all survive (though they still get the crap kicked out of them), but the KBI destroy House Atlantic, the Prise decimate the URA fleet, the Black Rainbow disappears, and Inferno gives Coheed and Cambria the opportunity to have a normal life. Of course, considering how the rest of the series plays out, this is little comfort in the long run.
- Department of Redundancy Department: With the song titles "Apollo I: The Writing Writer" and "The Lying Lies & Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court"
- Everything Evil has an "inspecting inspector." Let's just say that the band really likes its Xing Xs
- Elite Mooks: The Onstantine Priests
- Even the Guys Want Him: What can we say? Claudio Sanchez is a very handsome man.
- Evil Overlord: Wilhelm Ryan
- Faceless Mooks: The Red Army
- The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: Many album titles to choose from.
- A God Am I: Coheed, when the Monstar activates.
- And, apparently—though we must wait until the comics eventually come to the fourth album— Wilhelm Ryan and Claudio Kilgannon.
- And, even more so, the Writer, who is the god of the Keywork
- Gorn: The Year of the Black Rainbow novel has quite a few gory deaths.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Cambria has traces of Mage DNA; this is suggested to be the source of her Psychic Powers.
- The Hero Dies
- Hollywood Cyborg: Coheed (and possibly other IRO-bots), Crom, and Deftinwolf.
- I Call It "Vera": Al the Killer's rifle, "The Faint of Hearts"
- Jossed, when he meets Claudio it's revealed that was the name of the bar.
- Ironic Echo: "What did I do to deserve this?"
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Pull the trigger and the nightmare stops!" is but one of many...
- The whole of Willing Well II: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness.
- "Goodnight, Fair Lady" has a catchy, upbeat tune. It's about slipping someone a mickey.
- "The Devil in Jersey City" is a fairly upbeat song about gang rape.
- "Number City" is pretty upbeat.....for a song about a car accident.
- Lyrics/Video Mismatch: Since their songs all (allegedly) follow the same plot as the comics, and most of their videos... well... don't, this is a given.
- Long Title: The Second Stage Turbine Blade and In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 aren't too bad. But then there's Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness and Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume Two: No World For Tomorrow
- Mad God: The omnipotent Writer doesn't just have conversations with his bicycle; he actually follows its editorial advice.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most of their songs are 6-7, with the rest at around 5.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: While they are often associated with prog-rock/prog-metal, they also incorporate elements of alt-rock, pop punk, post-hardcore, indie rock, emo, space rock, hard rock, and pop rock among other genres.
- New Sound Album: Year of the Black Rainbow most definitely, but it could be argued that every album is a significant change. To be specific:
- The Second Stage Turbine Blade was an odd fusion of progressive metal, emo, post-hardcore, and indie rock (No, really.) Which of those genres got the most emphasis depended on the song.
- In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 featured a more straightforward progressive metal sound, with the majority of the emo influences toned down (with the exception of a couple songs, such as "Blood Red Summer").
- From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness was lighter and less prog-metal oriented, with the obvious exception of "Welcome Home", instead sounding more like alternative rock with progressive leanings towards the end.
- No World for Tomorrow shifted back towards progressive metal, albeit a bit heavier and with better production. The melodies were also less bright and Claudio's voice got lower, though the latter change arguably came in on the previous album.
- Year of the Black Rainbow featured a much darker, less melodic style of prog-metal, with industrial rock and space rock influences thrown thoughout. This change is part of what makes this album the black sheep of the band's main discography.
- The Afterman: Ascension went back to the sound of NWFT, and Descension was on the lighter side and features a more alternative sound, but in a distinctly different way from FFTTEOM.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Josephine's body contains the Monstar antidote. Guess who gets killed by Coheed.
- Offing the Offspring: Coheed and Cambria do this early on by poisoning their two youngest children, beating their injured older daughter to death with a hammer, but never get a chance to kill their other son...because they realize that their children weren't infected with a disease that would kill the Keywork
- One of Us: Claudio. All the way
- Our Angels Are Different: The blue-skinned, blond-haired Prise
- Our Souls Are Different: The souls of the Keywork are trapped as zombies.
- Power Trio: KBI (The Knowledge, Cambria; the Beast, Coheed; and the Inferno, Jesse)
- Also connected to Arc Number above, with the number three
- Supreme Tri-Mage Wilhelm Ryan, General Mayo Deftinwulf, and Admiral Veilar Crom are another trio. Also, others may exist (possibly Claudio Kilgannon, Ambelinna, and Inferno on the third album?)
- Progressive Metal
- Psychic Powers: Coheed's wife Cambria has telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance...
- And Claudio (the character, not the singer) also has some form of Psychic Powers
- Psycho Serum: For the Beast in the syringa dragonfly stinger.
- Rage Against the Author: Happens slightly in Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Played straight?...and, uh, averted? Really, it's a bit confusing. First, you have The Beast, also known as Coheed Kilgannon. He's stated to be the Helionaut ("Sun Sailor", whatever that actually means), and is told he is "man's stab at defying god". This stab comes in the form of being able to destroy the Star Transformers creating the big blue glowing net of Heaven's Fence. This seems to be a blasphemy, naturally, since God doesn't want his precious Fence destroyed. Enter son Claudio, who has the powers of the Crowing, which means he is a Messiah. His powers include (apparently) some of his mother's ESP, especially clairvoyance, the unique abilities to become invisible and intangible and bring the dead—briefly—back to life, and (though seemingly for unrelated reasons that his father has) the power to destroy these Star Transformers. Which is in God's plan. Yeah, we have trouble following it too.
- Refrain from Assuming: "A Favor House Atlantic" is not actually called "Good Eye Sniper", OR "Bye Bye Beautiful".
- Retcon: The first album's comic adaption has numerous differences:
- Claudio K is no longer suicidal.
- Ambellina appears here, rather than later in the series.
- Patrick is killed by an Onstantine Priest, rather than by a car crash as the album implies.
- Between the two volumes of the Second Stage Turbine Blade arc, the switch in artists has resulted in slightly different character designs, as well as Coheed's arm blades switching direction to curve forward, now matching the comic book covers.
- Robot War: The video for "The Broken". Also, the video along with some established background information suggests that the war preceding the series was a Robot War.
- Role Ending Misdemeanor: Founding bassist Michael Todd was sacked from the band in 2011 after being arrested for armed robbery of a pharmacy, hours before the band was to open for Soundgarden at a nearby arena.
- Shout-Out: Many to Star Wars:
- When Claudio is on the garbage ship, the narration mentions that he'll be fine unless the walls start to move.
- Admiral Crom looks a lot like Bobba Fett, Iron Man, and a Cylon.
- Although the line has been altered somewhat in the rerelease, Cambria says a few things that sound like lines from Star Wars.
- 2113 is named in homage to Rush's album 2112.
- The Prize Fighter Inferno's song "Elm Street Loverboy" is about Freddy Krueger.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The main title of songs 7-9 on In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 is either "The Velourium Camper" or "The Camper Velourium"—the original CD and many websites list it as "Velourium Camper", but the re-released CD and official website list it as "Camper Velourium."
- Vocal Dissonance: Claudio (the singer) honestly sounds like a girl in some of his songs. A Favor House Atlantic is a pretty good example of this.
- Voice of the Legion: Used in a few songs, most noticeably "The Velourium Camper III: Al The Killer"
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Poor, poor Sizer.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Jesse "Inferno" Kilgannon, all the way:
"These worlds need a hero...and I burn the prototypes
- Word Salad Lyrics: Considering that their songs follow a plot based directly on a series of comics, this isn't surprising.
- One example of Word Salad Lyrics: 'You're frightened of leaving this truly gone fishing amalgam' Makes a bit of sense if you think about it, but still messed up.